Indulgence, Claims and Innovation Trends at In-Cosmetics

The Marketing Trends presentations at In-Cosmetics Barcelona, which takes place on April 17–19, 2012, provide an opportunity to discover the latest trends and issues affecting the global cosmetics industry. This article will take a look at some of the key trends that will be analyzed in more depth in the presentations.

Economic Pressure

A recurring theme throughout this year’s presentations will be how the global cosmetics industry is coping with the economic downturn. Euromonitor’s latest trend reports show that the industry is becoming more polarized between luxury beauty and the low end of the market, putting pressure on those brands occupying the middle ground.

New product development and innovation will be the way forward for stretched brands. Euromonitor predicts that brands taking a more holistic approach to product benefits and positioning, as well as those prepared to integrate completely novel concepts into their offering, will contribute to future growth of the category.

Sensory and Indulgence

Research company Datamonitor will be highlighting the “sensory and indulgence” mega-trend, which examines consumers’ desire to treat themselves and how indulgence is an enduring behavior irrespective of financial pressures. Datamonitor describe indulgences as valued distractions that allow consumers to escape from the everyday to experience some of life’s small luxuries, especially “lower-ticket” items such as beauty products.

According to Datamonitor, one of the insights to emerge from this trend is multisensory branding, which represents the latest frontier of consumer engagement for premium beauty brands. In Datamonitor’s research, sensory benefits were deemed as influential as “purchasing my favored brands,” which is significant given that skin care consumers generally tend to be brand-centric.

The desire for maximum sensory appeal will drive cosmetic brands to move beyond one-dimensional sensory product cues and leverage multisensory branding. Estée Lauder’s Idealist skin care range, specifically its Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator serum, is cited as the “best in class” for its product formulation, packaging and brand communication, creating multisensory experiences that engages all consumer ethnicities. The serum’s tri-optic technology claims to smooth, brighten and even skin tone. Meanwhile, a contoured ceramic-tip applicator provides a cooling effect on the skin on application. Finally, the product’s TV and print ad marketing features models of varied ethnic backgrounds to reinforce its multicultural positioning and achieve an inclusive brand sentiment.

Cosmetic Claims

Theresa Callaghan, PhD, will look at the role of marketing in cosmetic clinical trials and their impact on a consumer’s understanding or misunderstanding of product claims. For example, many deodorants now make a 48 hr efficacy claim for their product, which is not essentially incorrect, but can give the consumer the impression that the product is for those who would rather not wash for two days. “The point being missed is that by using a product with 48 hour efficacy could mean you do not have to wear the product every day, which would be kinder to the skin,” maintains Callaghan. She finds that anyone working in antiperspirant claims knows that there is a “wash-out” period before any study because it can take up to 10 days for the underarm pores to clear of the antiperspirant “plugs.”

Callaghan cities Sanex's Dermo Extra Control deodorant, with which she takes issues with several claims. “Sanex has stretched claims a bit too far, bearing in mind that to get a 48 hour claim, more aluminum salts have been formulated into the product,” she maintains. “And sometimes it is good to have alcohol since it offers extra antibacterial control. There is never enough in a formula to dry the skin.”

Botox-like claims in skin care also come under her scrutiny, especially one made by Marks & Spencer in their Cosmetox products. “Cosmetox is an abbreviated term for cosmetic toxicity and was made even more widespread by Greenpeace!” she says.

Speaking specifically about Lipotec's Argireline (INCI: Water (aqua) (and) Acetyl Hexapeptide-8), used in products claiming Botox-like effects such as InnoBeauty Gmbh's Nanolift Advanced Skin Care, Janson Beckett Cosmeceutical's AlphaDerma CE and Peter Thomas Roth's Unwrinkle Eye, Callaghan is concerned with the implication that these products relax the muscle. “It’s a leap of faith between the Botox-like effect and what is actually happening. It is not to say that these products don’t work, but there is no mechanism or tool that measures the effect these products have on facial muscles,” she adds.

The Future of Cosmetics

Antoinette van den Berg, founder of trends forecasting agency Future-Touch, will describe how she translates future trends into innovative products, new markets and new applications for the raw material industry. “A trend is like a running horse. A company needs to jump on it before it is too late,” she says. Sometimes, she finds that companies do not want to believe the trends she predicts and can regret not following her advice when they go mainstream in the future. For example, a few years before it happened, Van den Berg described the trend for fluorescent nail polishes and that women would wear different nail colors at the same time. “Skin colors for nail varnish was another trend some companies did not want to believe would happen. Now they are everywhere,” she explains.

Another trend observed by Van den Berg is for male cosmetics, which many companies still struggle to support. “I have a Google alert on new male cosmetic launches, and it is a hugely growing business. If companies accept that concealers are no-color concealers, then they are on the way to accepting male cosmetics as a viable category.”

The economic downturn has its challenges and Van den Berg works with companies to see how they can adapt machinery at low cost. “An innovative product can be manufactured using a production line that is not used any more. We can go in and help companies look at their business in a fresh way.” The next big trend will come from the food industry, but Van den Berg is not quite ready to spill the beans on that topic.

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